Backdoor to Bolt Mountain (Southwest Oregon) 25-Feb-2022

Sometime in 1939, my mother moved to London from her small hometown in Scotland. She probably looked forward to an exciting life in the big city after a constrained one in the provinces. It just turned-out to be “exciting” in a very bad way. War had been in the air for awhile but after “peace in our time” people thought they’d dodged the proverbial bullet. Then the Nazis manufactured an excuse to invade Poland and WWII was off and running.

Mom stayed in London for the whole war – through the threat of invasion, the nightly bombings of the Blitz, the V1s, the V2s, and the arrival of the Americans (one of whom was an Army Air Corp officer – my dad). Neither she nor he ever spoke much about WWII – they weren’t an overly talkative generation when it came to that. But I nevertheless picked-up some sense of what they – and millions of others at that time – had been through at the hands of an evil aggressor.

So there was just a little déjà vu as we watched Russia go on and on about not invading Ukraine (“peace in our time” for the 21st Century) and then manufacture a reason (Ukrainians are Nazis!) for doing just that. Supposedly serious people were shocked! shocked! that this could happen. Mom and dad are gone now, but I don’t think they’d have been too shocked to see yet another dictator decide to simply take what he wanted – or at least try to in the face of stiff opposition. I can only hope that supposedly serious people get over being shocked and get on with helping the Ukrainians fight for their freedom and sovereignty.


Hiking (along with a host of other recreational activities) is a triviality in comparison to war. Not that was it ever meant to be serious. It’s simply a pleasure, a diversion, one that eases the anxiety and stress that comes from seeing the world convulse. Maybe by releasing natural endorphins or something.

I needed a brief break from watching Putin try (try!) to dismantle Ukraine. So, with The LovedOne busy at the library (where cellulose fumes apparently substitute for endorphins), I headed to Bolt Mountain (2,180 ft / 667 m) near Grants Pass to finally hike it on a clear and sunny 😎 day. All our previous hikes of it having been plagued by clouds, fog, drizzle, and gloom. 😞

The official trail starts from Fish Hatchery Park ($5 day use fee) but you can also approach from Stringer Gap (no fee). This is the backdoor to Bolt. Two old roads and a web of mountain biker use trails radiate from the Gap – many of these loop back on themselves and do not go to Bolt. But the old road going south and then west eventually becomes a single-track trail that connects with the official trail to Bolt at about 1,600 feet (488 m).

Starting out on one of the old roads
Frozen
Sunshine on an old road
The eastern side (arrow) of Bolt Mountain comes into view
Along the south side of Bolt
A handmade sign marks the junction with the official trail
On the official trail
Looking at a giant clearcut to the west
On the north side of Bolt
Approaching the summit ridge
The top of Bolt Mountain – in sunshine for the first time!
Looking to the southeast through some smoke haze
Looking west toward the Siskiyou Crest
Grants Pass to the northeast
Heading back
Sunlight and shadows
Spring Gold – another early season wildflower
Back on the old road

From the Gap to Bolt and back came to 5.4 miles (8.6 km) with 1,000 feet (305 m) of elevation gain. This was a good break. Then it was back to watching evil try to defeat freedom. More storms are supposedly headed our way so maybe by early next week we’ll be all wet. 😁

My double lollipop hike to and from Bolt
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Bolt Mountain (Southwest Oregon) 24-Nov-2020

Bolt Mountain (2,241 ft / 683 m) pops-up just southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon. Access to it is managed jointly by Josephine Country Parks ($5/day parking fee) and the Bureau of Land Management (BLM). It’s a low-altitude hike (6.6 miles (10.3 km); with 1,270 feet (387 m) of gain) that we typically save for early winter when the weather is dubious and there’s not yet enough recreational snow at higher altitudes. There are supposedly good views from its summit. But we have yet to coordinate our visits with clear days. Thus we have gotten some excellent views of dreary grayness. Today’s hike up Bolt was no exception. A good hike to murky views. Of course, as we were driving home the clouds parted and sunlight burst forth. Oh, the irony! Oh! Oh! 🙄

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Cathedral Hills Park (Grants Pass, Oregon) 05-Feb-2017

Cathedral Hills Park Grants Pass Oregon

It was the driest of times; it was the moistest of times.  Well, mostly moistest lately.  So when the forecast shifted abruptly to “possibly clear” for the morrow’s morning and early afternoon, we felt compelled to seize the moment.  But what moment and where?  After consulting the oracles (and Glenn & Carol’s website), it was decided that we should make our first visit to the 400 acre Cathedral Hills Park just southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.  Using the park’s Bureau of Land Management (BLM) map, we sketched out a double lollipop with the Skycrest Loop to the north, the Outback Loop in the middle, and the Wild Rose Loop to the south.

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Bolt Mountain (Grants Pass, Oregon) 07-Dec-2016

Bolt Mountain Grants Pass Oregon

The winter of 2015-16 was blessed with an El Niño, which gifted us a normal (and then some) snow pack (yeah!).  And now it looks like we’re going to experience a La Niña, which should bring on a normal (and then some) snowpack for the winter of 2016-17 (yeah!).  But the storms have been coming in one after the other, with little time between them for the snow to settle or the roads to clear higher up (not yeah!).  So we’re stalling on undertaking this Winter’s first snowshoe hike and instead are picking-off a few of the lower-altitude, snow-free hikes we haven’t done yet.  One of these is Bolt Mountain, located on Josephine County and Bureau of Land Management land about 5 miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon.  The 3.2 mile trail to the summit is popular with mountain bikers but is multi-use and open to hikers and equestrians too.  It’s also reputed to be a good wildlflower hike in the Spring, and one with great views on a clear day.  Today we did it as an exercise hike; a short one we could squeeze in before the next round of storms envelopes us.

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